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What’s The Unemployment Rate In The United States

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Us Unemployment Rates By Year

How unemployment benefits are calculated

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has measured unemployment since the stock market crash of 1929.

Gross domestic product is the measure of economic output by a country. When the unemployment rate is high, there are fewer workers. That could lead to less economic output and a lower rate of GDP.

When inflation rises, the prices of goods and services go up, making them more expensive. If there is a high rate of unemployment at the same time, this could cause issues for those without an income since they may be struggling to afford basic necessities.

The following table shows how unemployment, GDP, and inflation have changed by year since 1929. Unless otherwise stated, the unemployment rate is for December of that year. Unemployment rates for the years 1929 through 1927 were calculated from a different BLS source due to current BLS data only going back to 1948. GDP is the annual rate and inflation is for December of that year and is the year-over-year rate.


Unemployment By Country 2021

The unemployment rate is defined as the percentage of unemployed workers in the total labor force. The unemployment rate includes workers who currently do not work, although they can do so. For 2021, the global unemployment rate is estimated to be between 6.3-6.5%, depending upon the source.

The unemployment rate is a lagging indicator, meaning it responds to changing economic conditions rather than influencing or predicting them. When the economy grows at a healthy rate, the job market is plentiful and the unemployment rate drops. When the economy is experiencing a recession or other turbulence, the job market tends to retract and the unemployment rate rises in response.

What Is The Relationship Between Initial Claims And The Unemployment Rate And Why Might It Be Different Now

The number of people receiving UI and the number counted as unemployed do tend to move in the same direction, but there is no formal link between the two. The only criteria for being counted as unemployed are that you are without a job and that you have actively searched for work or are on temporary layoff. You dont need to be collecting unemployment insurance to be counted as unemployed. And some people are eligible to collect partial unemployment insurance benefits if they are working but have been assigned a schedule that is far below their usual weekly hours.

Many people who become unemployed do not apply for UI benefits, either because they are not eligible or because they choose not to apply. So initial claims typically understate the number of people becoming unemployed in a given week. That said, there are people who file an initial claim and are not counted as unemployed in the CPS. This could happen if a person doesnt meet the CPS criteria for being unemployedfor instance, if they file for UI because their work schedule was reduced, or if the person has a very short spell of unemployment which is not captured in the CPS .

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Unemployment Rate By State 2022

One of the main indicators of the state of the United States economy is the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate is reported every month by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics .

The unemployment rate is not only a measure of the economys strength but also a measure of the overall happiness and wellbeing of U.S. citizens. Long-term unemployment is a burden for many and can cause financial, emotional, and psychological ruin. A persons ability to provide for themselves and their family, pay their bills, and contribute to society are key factors in maintaining a happy life and cultural wellbeing.

There are three types of unemployment, all of which help explain why there is unemployment at a given time.

As of December 2019, the national unemployment rate is 3.6%. The unemployment rate varies between states, ranging from 2.30% to 6.10%. In general, the current unemployment rates in the states are lower than they were in 2018, with only a few exceptions.

Alaska has the highest unemployment rate of 6.10%. This, however, is lower than its 2018 unemployment rate of 7.30%. Alaska is in a statewide recession and has seen the fastest rate of job losses since 2015. The higher unemployment rates can be attributed to the seasonality of jobs, the natural frictional unemployment, and the population that lives a subsistence lifestyle.

Here are the 10 states with the highest unemployment rate:

South Dakota Unemployment Rate

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Agricultural production is one of the most prominent sectors in the South Dakota economy, though most of the state’s workforce is actually employed in the service industry. At times the tourism industry in the Mount Rushmore State has been nearly equal to to the agriculture sector due to its many notable attractions, including that iconic carved mountain.

  • Unemployment Historic High/Low:
  • Historic High: 8.8
  • Historic Low: 2.3
  • Current unemployment: 2.3

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North Dakota Unemployment Rate

Approximately 90% of North Dakota is made up of farms and ranches, a factor that allows agriculture to be the state’s biggest economic contributor and responsible for one-fourth of its workforce. The Roughrider State is one of the few states where the advanced manufacturing sector has grown most have seen their industry shrink over time.

  • Unemployment Historic High/Low:
  • Historic High: 8.3
  • Historic Low: 2.0
  • Current unemployment: 2.8

Current Unemployment Rates For States And Historical Highs/lows

Current Unemployment Rates for States and Historical Highs/Lows, SeasonallyAdjusted



Note: Rates shown are a percentage of the labor force. Data refer to place of residence. Seriesbegin in January 1976. Historical highs and lows show the most recent month that a rate wasrecorded in the event of multiple occurrences. Estimates for at least the latest five years aresubject to revision early in the following calendar year. Estimates for the current month aresubject to revision the following month.

December 17, 2021

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Effect Of Disability Recipients On Labor Force Participation Measures

The number of people receiving Social Security disability benefits increased from 7.1 million in December 2007 to 8.7 million in April 2012, a 22% increase. Recipients are excluded from the labor force. Economists at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley estimated this explained as much as 0.5 of the 2.0 percentage point decline in the U.S. labor-force participation rate during the period.

Labor Force Participation Rate

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Another important statistic is the labor force participation rate. This is the percentage of adults in an economy who are either employed or who are unemployed and looking for a job. So, using the data in Figure 1 and Table 1, those included in this calculation would be the 157 million individuals in the labor force. The rate is calculated by taking the number of people in the labor force, that is, the number employed and the number unemployed, divided by the total adult population and multiplying by 100 to get the percentage. For the data from February 2015, the labor force participation rate is 62.8%. Historically, the civilian labor force participation rate in the United States climbed beginning in the 1960s as women increasingly entered the workforce, and it peaked at around 68% in late 1999 to early 2000. Since then, the labor force participation rate has steadily declined.

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Effects Of Healthcare Reform

CBO estimated in December 2015 that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would reduce the labor supply by approximately 2 million full-time worker equivalents by 2025, relative to a baseline without the law. This is driven by the law’s health insurance coverage expansions plus taxes and penalties. With access to individual marketplaces, fewer persons are dependent on health insurance offered by employers.

New Hampshire Unemployment Rate

New Hampshire has a long history as a manufacturing state, specifically with the production of paper and grain. As the use of mills began to decline over the 20th century, the Granite State turned to more traditional manufacturing. Although modern manufacturing has become far more high-tech, it still remains the biggest sector of New Hampshire’s economy.

  • Unemployment Historic High/Low:
  • Historic High: 16.2
  • Historic Low: 2.1
  • Current unemployment: 2.3

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Effects On Health And Mortality

Unemployment can have adverse health effects. One study indicated that a 1% increase in the unemployment rate can increase mortality among working-aged males by 6%. Similar effects were not noted for women or the elderly, who had lower workforce attachment. The mortality increase was mainly driven by circulatory health issues . Another study concluded that: “Losing a job because of an establishment closure increased the odds of fair or poor health by 54%, and among respondents with no preexisting health conditions, it increased the odds of a new likely health condition by 83%. This suggests that there are true health costs to job loss, beyond sicker people being more likely to lose their jobs.” Extended job loss can add the equivalent of ten years to a persons age.

Studies have also indicated that worsening economic conditions can be associated with lower mortality across the entire economy, with slightly lower mortality in the much larger employed group offsetting higher mortality in the unemployed group. For example, recessions might include fewer drivers on the road, reducing traffic fatalities and pollution.

How Does The Us Determine The Unemployment Rate

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The U.S. determines the unemployment rate by dividing the unemployed individuals by the total number of individuals in the labor force. This is then converted into a percentage. How the U.S. determines the “labor force” and “unemployed” varies. The labor force, for example, only includes those who are employed or unemployed and seeking employment.

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What Job Creation Rate Is Required To Lower The Unemployment Rate


Estimates vary for the number of jobs that must be created to absorb the inflow of persons into the labor force, to maintain a given rate of unemployment. This number is significantly affected by demographics and population growth. For example, economist Laura D’Andrea Tyson estimated this figure at 125,000 jobs per month during 2011.

Economist Paul Krugman estimated it around 90,000 during 2012, mentioning also it used to be higher. One method of calculating this figure follows, using data as of September 2012: U.S. population 314,484,000 x 0.90% annual population growth x 63% of population is working age x 63% work force participation rate / 12 months per year = 93,614 jobs/month. This approximates the Krugman figure.

Federal Reserve analysts estimated this figure around 80,000 in June 2013: “According to our analysis, job growth of more than about 80,000 jobs per month would put downward pressure on the unemployment rate, down significantly from 150,000 to 200,000 during the 1980s and 1990s. We expect this trend to fall to around 35,000 jobs per month from 2016 through theremainder of the decade.”

Empirical data

During the 41 months from January 2010 to May 2013, there were 19 months where the unemployment rate declined. On average, 179,000 jobs were created in those months. The median job creation during those months was 166,000.

How Is The Us Unemployment Rate Calculated

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In general, the unemployment rate in the United States is obtained by dividing the number of unemployed persons by the number of persons in the labor force and multiplying that figure by 100. There are, however, various ways of defining unemployed, each yielding a distinct unemployment rate. The standard unemployment rate, referred to as U-3, is the one most often cited. By that measure, a person is counted as unemployed if he or she does not have a full-time, part-time, or temporary job, is actively looking for a job, and is currently available to be hired. The category of unemployed persons also includes those who have been temporarily laid off. A person is understood to be actively looking for a job if he or she has tried to obtain one within the preceding four weeks. Persons who are only marginally attached to the labor marketthose who want and are available for a job and have actively looked for a job within the preceding 12 months but not within the preceding four weeksare considered neither employed nor unemployed and thus not part of the labor force. Also excluded are discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who are not looking for a job specifically because they believe there are none for which they are qualified or because they have been victims of employment discrimination.

Find out more about the U.S. unemployment rate at:

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Where Do The Data On Unemployment Come From

Data on unemployment are collected every month in the Current Population Survey , a survey of about 60,000 households, conducted by the Census and the BLS every month, which includes roughly 105,000 people ages 16 and older. The questions about unemployment refer to what people were doing during the week that includes the 12th of the month, known as the reference weekso the survey to be released on Friday, March 4, 2021 will cover the week of February 8, 2021. The CPS is referred to as the household survey, to distinguish it from the establishment survey, which counts the number of people on employer payrolls.

How To Use The Unemployment Rate

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Keep in mind that the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator. It tells you what has already happened, since employers only lay off workers after business slows down.

The unemployment rate isn’t lagging as much as usual because the pandemic is still creating sudden changes.

Companies resist hiring new workers when a recession is over until they can be sure that the economy will stay strong. The economy could improve for months, and the recession could be over before the unemployment rate drops. It’s not suitable for predicting trends, but it’s useful for confirming them.

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Unemployment Rate By City

  • Put simply, anyone who is not considered employed, and anyone that is not considered employed is not part of the labor force.
  • State Benefits Facts: The labor force does not include anyone younger than 16 years of age, anyone in institutions such as nursing homes, prisons, or are active duty in the Armed Forces.

    Comparison Of Employment Recovery Across Recessions And Financial Crises

    One method of analyzing the impact of recessions on employment is to measure the period of time it takes to return to the pre-recession employment peak. By this measure, the 20082009 recession was considerably worse than the five other U.S. recessions from 1970 to present. By May 2013, U.S. employment had reached 98% of its pre-recession peak after approximately 60 months. Employment recovery following a combined recession and financial crisis tends to be much longer than a typical recession. For example, it took Norway 8.5 years to return to its pre-recession peak employment after its 1987 financial crisis and it took Sweden 17.8 years after its 1991 financial crisis. The U.S. is recovering considerably faster than either of these countries.

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    Us Unemployment Rate 1991

    • U.S. unemployment rate for 2020 was 8.31%, a 4.64% increase from 2019.
    • U.S. unemployment rate for 2019 was 3.67%, a 0.23% decline from 2018.
    • U.S. unemployment rate for 2018 was 3.90%, a 0.46% decline from 2017.
    • U.S. unemployment rate for 2017 was 4.36%, a 0.51% decline from 2016.

    U.S. Unemployment Rate – Historical Data

    Persons With Multiple Jobs

    Unemployment Online Help Number

    The BLS reported that in 2017, there were approximately 7.5 million persons age 16 and over working multiple jobs, about 4.9% of the population. This was relatively unchanged from 2016. About 4 million worked a full-time primary job and part-time secondary job. A 2020 study based on a Census Bureau survey estimated a higher share of multiple jobholders, with 7.8% of persons in the U.S. working multiple jobs as of 2018 the study found that this percentage has been trending upward during the past twenty years and that earnings from second jobs are, on average, 27.8% of a multiple jobholder’s earnings.

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    New Jersey Unemployment Rate

    New Jersey’s biggest industry by employment is healthcare, which has continued to grow ever since 1990. Second is retail trade, which accounts for roughly 13% of the Garden State’s workforce, though a significant portion are seasonal or part-time workers.

    • Unemployment Historic High/Low:
    • Historic High: 15.8
    • Historic Low: 3.2
    • Current unemployment: 4.1

    What Is The Payroll Survey And Why Is It Likely To Be Less Useful Than Usual

    The payroll survey is a survey of 145,000 businessesemploying about one third of all workers on nonfarm payrolls. The payroll survey tends to have difficulty when the economy is at a turning point, as is the case now. To create the sample to be surveyed, the BLS picks firms from the universe of firms that have unemployment insurance tax accounts. However, new firms do not enter the BLS sample universe right away, and the BLS can have difficulty distinguishing non-response from a firm closure in real time. Since the net contribution of jobs created at new firms and jobs destroyed at closing firms is typically small, the BLS assumes that nonresponding firms have the same change in employment as occurred at firms that responded. It then uses a model, called the net birth-death model, to forecast the residual between that imputation and the actual data. This model tends to overestimate employment growth when the economy is weakening and underestimate it when the economy is improving. And while the model error is typically small, it can, on occasion, be large.

    If, as a result of the pandemic, an unusually large number of firms are closing and few are opening, it seems possible that even the dramatic decline in employment that we are likely to see will underestimate the true extent of job loss.

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